Virtualization Technology News and Information
Decreasing Network Downtime During Difficult Times

By Tracy Collins, Vice President of Sales of Americas, Opengear

Scroll through your newsfeed, turn on the TV, or pick up a newspaper and you'll see headlines: Big name tech companies making bold, impactful moves. Unfortunately for the roughly 40,000 former employees of Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft and Spotify prematurely shown the door this year, "bold" and "impactful" are far from positive terms. This trend of tech companies shedding payroll in preparation for what is forecasted to be an economically tumultuous year is only expected to continue, meaning businesses will be forced to do more with less. However, these cost cutting maneuvers don't mean potentially downsized IT management teams must hold networks together with duct tape and crossed fingers-far from it, in fact. Though it may seem improbable, it's possible for companies to minimize network downtime, even in the most difficult of times.

A Matter of Time...and Money

First off, it's important to remember: Network outages are going to happen. Whether they're caused by a security breach or faulty hardware or just run-of-the-mill user error, network outages are simply a part of life for IT management teams. It's how they prepare for and respond to these outages that can make or break a company-because when networks do go down, the costs are significant. Customer service nightmares, reputational damage and the immense strain placed on a workforce hustling to revive the network are all noteworthy prices companies pay due to network outages. Of course, and perhaps most importantly, a substantial amount of money on the line as well; according to a recent survey of business leaders, the average cost of network downtime is approximately $13,000 per minute. So, when you hear that IT teams will need to do more with less, the stakes really couldn't be higher.

A Band Apart

Perhaps one of the most pivotal ways for potentially understaffed IT management teams to minimize network downtime during an outage is to invest in a dynamic and full-throated out of band management solution. An example of such is a network resilience platform, which can deliver IT teams the freedom to remotely monitor, diagnose and repair network issues when the primary network goes down. This is made possible by a dedicated 4G-LTE alternative access path equipped with failover to cellular technology which provides enough bandwidth for critical processes to remain operational, even in the face of an outage.

Stronger Over Time

Another critical method by which diminished IT squads can minimize outage-induced network downtime is through successful integration of automation. Needless to say, when certain duties-including network configuration, provisioning, management and maintenance-are carried out by machines rather than humans, the work is completed not only much more quickly, but also much more competently. While this exponentially increases efficiency, automation also helps networks continue to build up resilience over time, courtesy of its inherent redundancy measures. Research shows that most helpdesk tickets at large enterprises are redundant, meaning the root cause has already been identified and a solution put in place. Consequently, most of the heavy lifting associated with rectifying network outages can be conducted via network automation. In allowing systems to troubleshoot and repair errant processes, automation aids the human workforce in becoming more in tune with spotting problems before they elevate to outage status, which, in turn, helps keep companies from entering that $13,000 per minute red zone-building network resilience all the while. 

Next to keeping the primary network up and running, minimizing downtime during a network outage is arguably the most important job of an IT management team. The longer a network remains down, the more of a financial and reputational toll it takes on a business (and the more pressure it places on those whose duty it is to bring said network back to life). As might be expected, when the news is rife with stories about tech behemoths like the Amazons and Microsofts of the world reducing staff as a precautionary move to counter what by all indications is set to be a tough year economically, it's easy to assume that the sky must be falling. Fortunately, IT management teams can flourish in times like these by adopting a proactive vs. reactive approach to dealing with outages. By harnessing the power of advancements in both out of band management and automation technology, it's entirely plausible-especially for teams impacted by workforce reductions-to keep network downtime low, even when the stakes are so monumentally high.



Tracy Collins, VP of Sales, Americas


Tracy has over 25 years of experience in leadership positions in the IT and Infrastructure industry. Prior to joining Opengear, Tracy led the Americas business for EkkoSense, the leading provider of AI/ML software that allows data center operators to operate more efficiently. Prior to joining EkkoSense, Tracy was the CEO of Alabama based Simple Helix, a regional colocation data center operator and MSP. Tracy spent over 21 years with Vertiv, in various leadership positions including leading the global channel organization.

Tracy has an extensive background in sales leadership, and channel development with a strong track record of driving growth while improving profitability. Tracy holds both a Bachelors of Science, Business Administration, and a Masters of Science in Management from the University of Alabama - Huntsville.

Published Wednesday, March 15, 2023 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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